badger11’s take on anime

Hataraki Man Ep 1

How can you like a show that has a junior employee telling the female lead (and a senior employee) not to change his work, have her be glad not to see her boyfriend because she’s tired and then complains about not having sex for three months? How can you not?

Hatakari Man shows us the life of magazine writer/editor, Matsukata Hirokko (Hiro). Hiro is basically a workaholic, the kind of person who rushes even when she’s not late. A junior writer/editor, Tanaka Kunio doesn’t want her reviewing his work since he knows that its already perfect. In the opening episode, Hiro gets to interview the Foreign Minister about his “celebrity” lifestyle. Instead of the hour that she was promised, she only gets 15 minutes and even that time is cut in half as the Minister is running late (or deliberately blowing her off). The next evening, she’s still at work when she receives a phone call from her boyfriend apologizing for the cancelling their date the other night. She also receives a phone call from a woman who works for the Foreign Minister. She wants to meet with Hiro to talk about the Minister. Hiro thinks that she might be a whistle blower. As she leaves, Kunio makes a comment about work coming before private life. Ignoring him, Hiro meets with the woman who tells Hiro about the Minister misappropriating funds. The next morning, Hiro tells the senior editor and chief editor. They get excited by the scoop. After they approve the new article, Hiro goes into super writer mode where she works three times as fast and is utterly focused on her work.

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The next morning Hiro watches a TV news report shows the fallout from Hiro’s article about the Foreign Minister. The woman that Hiro interviewed turns out to be the Minister’s secretary. The minister is shown blaming the secretary. Hiro gets a phone call from someone who threatens her life for “telling lies”. The senior editor takes the phone from and hangs up. He warns her that she could be in trouble from people following her. The chief editor walks in and complains about having to clean up the mess that the article created. On her way home that night, Hiro flashes back to the interview with the secretary. Hiro asked her why she was willing to blow the whistle on the Minister. The secretary points out that Hiro was angry at the shortened time length she was given to interview the minister. The secretary had days like that. As she continues to walk home, Hiro realizes that she’s being followed. She fakes a loud phone call to her boyfriend, Shinji, and runs into her apartment building. As Hiro gets to her apartment, Shinji calls her. She tells asks him to come over because she was followed and is scared. He can’t because he has to leave the city for a business trip. Interestingly enough, Hiro thinks that if she were a man, she’d say the same thing. Later on, Hiro thinks about how scary politics can be and how her article can cause a lot of trouble.

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Hiro is arguing with the senior editor because she wants to write an article defending the secretary. The editor points out that its against policy to disclose sources sine Hiro would have to reveal the secretary as the source. They found the possible abuse by the Minster interesting. That’s the only reason why they let her write the article. Hiro calls the secretary, trying to convince her to be named in a follow-up article. The secretary still refuses. She’s allowing herself to be seen as a criminal as a punishment for not stopping the greedy minister earlier. The following day, Hiro is still making her case to write a follow-up article. The senior editor is still adamant about not naming the source as it will damage the magazine’s reputation for protecting informants. The editor asks her if she’s still receiving threats and is she willing to receive more from the second article. The chief editor arrives and gives his approval for her second article. A little while later, Hiro is trouble writing the article. She’s suffering from writer’s block until she realizes that she wrote the article in such a way that didn’t clearly implicate the minister. She kicks into Hatakari Man mode and starts writing.

Overall, I liked this episode. And I can see the potential some pretty interesting office politics and conflicts between Hiro and Kunio. Kuno comes off as a laid back, cocky kind of a guy. I imagine that his writing has to be pretty good for him to tell Hiro not to edit his work. The remaining characters aren’t seen much except for the chief editor who seems to be a gruff stand-up character type, the senior editor who appears to be well-balance and doesn’t raise his voice often. And then there’s another junior editor who’s eager to make her way. She also has tendency to describe everything as a disaster. Hiro was great to watch and I can’t wait to see more. Her eyes still freak me out little, but I think she’s a great characte to follow.

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